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Opinion

Readers React: Cardinal Roger Mahony can never be redeemed, even if he opposes President Trump

HOLLYWOOD-CA-JULY 3, 2018: Cardinal Mahony is photographed at Charles Borromeo parish in Hollywood o
Cardinal Roger Mahony speaks at Charles Borromeo parish in Hollywood on July 3.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I read with interest your flattering article on Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles who retired in disgrace but is still speaking out on immigration. I would like to clarify a few things.

Although Mahony now says he told his successor that he would “stay below the radar” and try not to draw too much media attention to himself, the article fails to note that it was actually Archbishop Jose Gomez who, in the wake of the archdiocese’s ordered release of priest abuse records, wrote a public letter to the faithful admonishing Mahony for his failures in dealing with the abuse and announcing that he no longer would have any administrative or public duties.

Readers should revisit past L.A. Times articles that recount how Mahony refused to report the allegations of abuse to authorities, selected therapists for some victims whom he knew would not report to law enforcement and advised some accused priests to stay away from California to avoid prosecution.

As a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in child abuse, I have to set the record straight.

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Colleen Friend, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Thank you for your excellent article about Mahony’s long involvement in the immigration issue. It was good seeing The Times publish something positive about him.

I’ve always felt that The Times was unfair in the way it portrayed his involvement in the clergy sex abuse issue. While he made mistakes, he took steps after he became archbishop in 1985 to replace the informal practices he inherited from his predecessors with written policies and procedures that have become a model for other dioceses throughout the United States. He did this well before the scandal erupted in Boston in 2002.

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The great majority of cases that were involved in the $660-million settlement that is referred to so often occurred before he became archbishop.

Richard P. Byrne, Los Angeles

The writer, a retired Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, was the founding chairman of the archdiocesan Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board.

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To the editor: How lovely it is to hear that Mahony is doing well, tinkering with radios and growing vegetables.

The feel-good tone of this article is disgusting. Here’s a man who covered up decades of child abuse in the Los Angeles archdiocese so he could uphold his good reputation and that of the church. According to a 2013 Times report, Mahony documented countless reports of abuse, then turned a blind eye to the victims. Yet you choose to include him in today’s political debate.

Mahony said President Trump “appeals at the bottom to people’s fears.” How do you think those abused children ended up at the mercy of their pastors? Where is the self-reflection? The historical perspective?

“The pews erupted with applause” after he spoke at a church recently. If this man can make anyone applaud, he is dangerous. There must be other ways to support immigrants.

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Anders Christensen, Los Angeles

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